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Expired Nyquil

DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy EaterRight behind you...Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I've recently come down with the flu. I don't know if it's piggy flu, but all my symptoms are consistent with the flu regardless.

I have some Nyquil in the medicine cabinet, but the expiration date was eighteen months ago. So, the question is, is it actually safe to use or not? I don't know if this stuff actually spoils or just loses it's potency, and if I can save some money by not buying another bottle (not to mention going out and infecting everyone I cross paths with), then it would be preferred. But I don't know the truth of these expirations. The bottle has been opened from when I originally got it, if that makes a difference, and it doesn't look discolored or anything, although with Nyquil who can tell.

Dalboz on

Posts

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    you are not alone it seems
    as to whether it looses potency, uhhhhhhhhhhhh

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  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Medicine expiration dates usually deal just with the potency. I remember seeing on Good Morning America something along the lines that a year expired is fine so long as its a solid, 6 months for a gel tab or liquid.

    If it were me? I'd go pick up some new stuff. It's cheap enough.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Sip on that sizzurp, sir.

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  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I got a nasty cold last week and all I had was a three-year-old bottle of NyQuil... being, perhaps, less prudent than yourself I simply used it as normal (rather than questioning whether it was alright)... I'm still alive, and it worked just fine.

  • THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Santabreaker PresentslayerRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    So I didn't want to make another thread after seeing this but just wanted to be sure.

    Medicine doesn't expire? Just the potency goes down?

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  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Pretty much... though that's essentially the same thing.


    If what you mean to ask is "Medicine doesn't 'go bad'?" then correct (except possibly in some limited case of which I am not aware).

    In order to "go bad" you need something like a sugar or a protein that can become the playground of a bacteria. Since most medicines that include sugar also include large amounts of alcohol, you're pretty much safe.

  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    If what you mean to ask is "Medicine doesn't 'go bad'?" then correct (except possibly in some limited case of which I am not aware).

    The limited case is antibiotics (tetracyclines in particular, but there are others). They don't "go bad" in the food sense, they just break down into poisonous compounds.

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    They tested it on soldiers & found that medicine is still highly effective after it's expiration date--

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    streever wrote: »
    They tested it on soldiers & found that medicine is still highly effective after it's expiration date--
    Yeah, like, well after its expiration date. Like, years after its expiration date. Though, as far as I know, that was with pills, not liquids.

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Fats wrote: »
    Chanus wrote: »
    If what you mean to ask is "Medicine doesn't 'go bad'?" then correct (except possibly in some limited case of which I am not aware).

    The limited case is antibiotics (tetracyclines in particular, but there are others). They don't "go bad" in the food sense, they just break down into poisonous compounds.

    That makes sense... I had a feeling there was something I was forgetting: thus the caveat.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    streever wrote: »
    They tested it on soldiers & found that medicine is still highly effective after it's expiration date--
    Yeah, like, well after its expiration date. Like, years after its expiration date. Though, as far as I know, that was with pills, not liquids.

    Pretty sure it was painkillers they were testing with in the Army cases, and they were dosing them with 15-20-year expired pills. Still worked.

    Generally the rule of thumb I go by is that if it's treating something closer to a symptom - a headache, sinus congestion, nausea, sore throat - it will still be effective, just less effective. Basically, if it being less than "Super Effective" would just result in a smidgen of annoyance and needing to re-dose, go for it.

    If you're treating a cause - infection, diabetes, allergic reaction requiring epinepherine - don't fuck around with expiry dates. Failing to properly or completely treat something in this case could have medical repercussions.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Part of the pill study was that the pills were still in sealed containers, I believe. You probably see a quicker reduction in potency if whatever you're using is no longer sealed in the original packaging.

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    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    Pretty much... though that's essentially the same thing.

    If what you mean to ask is "Medicine doesn't 'go bad'?" then correct (except possibly in some limited case of which I am not aware).

    In order to "go bad" you need something like a sugar or a protein that can become the playground of a bacteria. Since most medicines that include sugar also include large amounts of alcohol, you're pretty much safe.

    Your biggest danger is if you need it to work, and it's potency is reduced to the point of ineffectiveness... Like if you have a serious bacterial infection, and you're using some old antibiotics that just can't cut the crud. Then your infection has progressed and you've possibly delayed visiting your doctor and are at greater risk. That, and you've bred the next superbug for this season, thanks Patient Zero. :P

    I have heard, but have no references or specifics, that certain medications should not be used at all after they expire. I recall being warned never to use a Epipen where the fluid had gone cloudy, but I can't recall if I inquired as to whether that was because it had gone "bad" in that it was ineffective (which could be fatal if you're have a reaction bad enough to use the pen in the first place), or toxic. In that particular case, either way it could be fatal.

    I agree with Chanus in that I can't think of where that would come into play in over-the-counter medication though. You might not feel better, but you wouldn't actually be worse off.

    I'd wager only a small number of medicines go "bad" in the sense they are actually harmful to take once they have turned. A much larger number of medicines are dangerous in that their reduced effectivity could lead to complications. In most cases, expiry dates are probably excessively conservative to account for large variations in shipping and storage (heat, cold, light can all effect potency). If you're really curious, you could ask a pharmacist, if you can find one willing to chat with you and actually cognizant of the distinction between the different kinds of "bad". Hard finding one with any spare time though...

  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Can I ask my expiration date question too? Does lube really expire? We used it without any issue 2 or 3 times until she noticed that it was almost 2 years over the expiration date.

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  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Er... I suppose it could separate or something so it just wouldn't work as well... There isn't really an "active ingredient" in lube... it's mostly just some sort of petroleum-based product.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Lube gets kinda gritty after awhile. Try it on your hand and see if it's as silky smooth as you demand.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    speaking specifically about antibiotics... you don't want to take them if they are expired. I had some expired antibiotics before, didn't ingest them, but I specifically remember looking them up on the internet and it said something about extreme risk of death.

    Nyquil, I'm not so sure. Stuff like aspirin im not even sure if that can expire.

  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Back to my original post, keep in mind that these aren't sealed gelcaps I'm talking about. It's an opened bottle of Nyquil that's been sitting in the bathroom medicine cabinet.

    Although, so far the general consensus seems to be that it won't hurt me, it just might not help me. Maybe I'll mix it into a gin martini to boost it's effectiveness (this was a joke; I'm not actually going to do that).

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Dalboz wrote: »
    Back to my original post, keep in mind that these aren't sealed gelcaps I'm talking about. It's an opened bottle of Nyquil that's been sitting in the bathroom medicine cabinet.

    Yeah, the one to which I referred in my original response was also the bottle. It worked fine. I'm taking it right now, in fact.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Drink it and take notes. Report your findings back. FOR SCIENCE!

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
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